“It hurt so much. My heart sank. It was the most horrendous feeling. I’d do anything to take that moment away.”
Those are the words of a brave Laura Bassett, who sat down with FATV to discuss the worst few minutes of her career.
England Women were drawing 1-1 with holders Japan in the 92nd minute of a World Cup semi-final, when Bassett attempted to clear Nahomi Kawasumi’s cross into the box.
“I would prefer for no-one to know my name”
Bassett on her World Cup heartbreak
She could only watch as the ball bounced up off her foot, beyond goalkeeper Karen Bardsley and over the line to consign Mark Sampson’s side to a heartbreaking defeat.
Bassett said: “There’s not a moment goes by that I don’t replay it.
“I knew I’d got contact on the ball. I remember Steph [Houghton] clearing it off the line and everyone re-grouping.
“I heard someone shout ‘great clearance’ which made me think it wasn’t a goal.
“The most devastating things is that it was one of the last kicks of the game. With this team we’ve shown that we’ll fight till the very end. Just give us one more chance to claw it back and right those wrongs.
“It was cruel because we never got that opportunity. It was pretty awful.
“Seeing the look in everybody else’s face - it just reminds me that our dream of winning this World Cup is over.”
Notts County captain Bassett is renowned for being one of the bubbliest players in the women’s game, and she is a natural leader for club and country.
The 31-year-old will never have felt pain on a football pitch like she did when referee Anna-Marie Keighley sounded the full-time whistle.
England were out of the World Cup in the most devastating fashion. Bassett was overcome with emotion as her team-mates flocked to her side.
She explained: “For those that know me, [they know] I’m not an emotional person. Crying in public and on national TV – you would never associate my name with that.
“But some over-riding emotion came over me.
“Jo Potter wouldn’t let me go [and] I know Katie [Chapman] wanted to get the media away.
“When I look back at pictures and people [tell me about] the support from my team; I can’t thank them enough.
“They have been there for me all through this tournament and when it mattered they were there again. I’ll be forever indebted to them.
“The staff protected me in ways I [can’t even] imagine. Mark has been brilliant, he really has, and so have all the staff. I really can’t thank them enough.”
There was an outpouring of sympathy for Bassett on social media and in the press, and she said the support she has received has left her lost for words.
She added: “If I’m honest, I would prefer for no-one to know Laura Bassett’s name.
“I’d prefer everyone to know Mark Sampson and Steph Houghton for lifting that trophy.
“I wouldn’t want anyone to know my name, but in the circumstances that they do – I’m just so thankful that the country is really supporting me and the Lionesses, and our journey.
“We came out here to win the World Cup. Unfortunately that dream’s over. We came out here to inspire a nation and it’s just incredible that people have fallen in love with these [players].”
England can still win a bronze medal in Canada, when they take on Germany in the match for third place.
The Lionesses, who had never got beyond a World Cup quarter final before this summer, have never beaten the European champions in 20 previous attempts
And Bassett acknowledged how important it is her team-mates try to end the tournament by claiming another piece of history.
She said: “We know we’ve created history along the journey. We’ve pushed boundaries, we’ve stepped out of our comfort zone time and time again, and that’s what we’ll be looking to do [against Germany].
“We know there’s still history to be made.
“We’ve got a clear goal, a clear objective and we’ll go out there and try our best like we have every single time.”